A Natter about my visit to The Land of the Long White Cloud

New Zealand national rugby union team

Image via Wikipedia

I have just returned from a trip to The Land of the Long White Cloud otherwise known as Aotearoa or New Zealand. I find NZ to be such a beautiful place not just physically but also culturally. It’s probably best known for The All Blacks, The Haka and Maori’s but for me it is an incredibly spiritual land. The Maori’s believe that most things contain “mana” – spiritual essence. Mana is within man himself, land, nature, and also man-made objects. Contact with mana contained objects or beings by non-authorised persons or objects could cause the mana to be drained away. I always wonder how you know what contains Mana? For instance I know that you should not buy yourself a piece of greenstone, it should be bought for you as a present by a New Zealander and preferably of Maori origin – I wonder if buying for yourself drains Mana?

It’s hard to spend time in NZ and not meet a lot of people as everyone is so friendly and strangers talk to you all the time which is not something I am used to living in Sydney and certainly not when I lived in London or the US. An example – I was ordering some lunch in a cafe and ordered a sandwich and bottle of water and the guy who was in the queue next to me said “I wouldn’t buy that wee bottle of water if I were you, they have a tap and glasses over there, you can get your water for free.” As soon as he heard I was an Aussie we had a 10 min talk about the World Cup and how he had hoped it was going to be a Wallabies, All Blacks final. Sat down at my table to eat lunch and the people on the table next door started chatting to me about the weather, which incidentally was bloody awful the whole time I was there – but hey, I wasn’t there for the weather, I was visiting friends. Made me think about the lack of community spirit in every city I have lived in for the past 22 years. Oh, how I miss that.

My final piece of trivia is on food, which is somewhat of a passion of mine – the food in NZ is superb because it is so fresh as they grow and use a lot of there own produce. The land is incredibly fertile and the weather differs so much throughout the whole country that the produce can be very diverse depending upon where you are in the country. I had to have whitebait fritters – just because, when in Rome! And smoked muscles and Mahi Mahi and Broad Beans (reminded me of England) and Sauv Blanc (lots of) and…..Oh the list could go on and on and on…. heaven on a plate.